While varicose veins are known to cause a variety of symptoms, most people who develop what they describe as vein pain are alarmed by it. Still, according to studies, few of the millions of American adults who develop the symptoms of venous insufficiency seek medical attention for their condition. Technically, what might feel like vein pain is pain in the tissue immediately around the affected vein. Here, we discuss what might cause this pain and what to do about it.
What Causes Vein Pain?
Pain in the leg around a vein stems from chronic venous insufficiency. This condition occurs when a valve in the vein no longer closes properly. In the lower extremities, blood flowing back towards the heart is moving against the force of gravity. To maintain forward motion, the blood vessels in the legs have valves that open and close. Due to various factors, some valves may not close all the way. When they don’t, blood pools in a segment of the vein, and the vein becomes distended.
Venous insufficiency can cause a variety of symptoms. These include:
- Noticeably swollen, twisted veins
- Sensations of heaviness in the lower extremities
- Cramping, throbbing, or aching in the legs
- A feeling of hardened tissue beneath the skin
- Rash, bruising or skin discoloration
Regardless of the severity of symptoms, venous insufficiency requires specific care to slow its progression. The problem does not go away on its own, but may be managed through a variety of actions, such as:
- Get up and walk for a few minutes every hour or so throughout the day. Avoid sitting for prolonged periods.
- Exercise daily, or at least several times a week, for 45 minutes or more. Walking, biking, and other activities that involve leg movements are ideal for vein health.
- If applicable, lose weight. Studies indicate that excess weight strains the blood flow from the lower extremities.
- Elevate the legs after exercise or prolonged sitting. The feet should be above the heart. Comfortable elevation could involve lying on the floor with the lower legs resting on a chair.
- Wear compression stockings when walking and exercising to help reduce swelling in the affected vein.